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J.    L.   GROMMELIN   BROWN 
R.  G.  A. 


DIES   HEROICA 

WAR    POEMS  :  1914-1918 


HODDER  AND   STOUGHTON 

LONDON    NEW  YORK    TORONTO 
MGMXVIII 


To 

W.D.G.,  J.C.B.y  and  other  young  soldiers 

DEDICATION 

T/f/'E  have  heard  the  bees  and  felt  the  sun  grow  hot  on  the 
face  together. 
And  watched  the  great  clouds  tumhling  up  across  the  Sussex 
down  ; 
We  found  the  same  clouds  farther  north  and  the  bees  among  the 
heather. 
Where  the  woods  are  old  and  silent  and  the  pools  are  dark 
and  brown. 

We  ^ve  read  and  laughed  and  played,  good  L  ord  /   and  talked 
the  slow  sun  under, 
And  heard  the  nightjars  whirring  and  the  rooks  go  home 
to  bed, 
And  watched  the  harvest  moon  come  up,  a  white  and  shining 
wonder. 
And  all  the  bright  star-companies  go  marching  overhead. 

The  sweetest  hour  of  all  sweet  hours  is  the  hour  zvhen,  long 
unbroken, 

A  comfort  and  a  silence  fall  that  do  not  ask  for  speech  ; 
The  finest  word  of  all  fine  words  is  the  word  that  stays  unspoken. 

But  rests  with  both  a  crystal  thought  no  utterance  can  reach. 


Ill 


God  grant,  dear  lad,  that  once  again  we  walk  the  moors  together. 

And  greet  the  sun  and  feel  the  wind  blow  fresh  on  face  and 

lips, 

Or  stretch  and  dream  upojt  the  down  in  golden  summer  weather, 

Jjid  watch  our  thoughts  flock  from  us  like  the  swift  white 

wings  of  ships. 


IV 


FOREWORD 

Those  of  whom  it  can  be  said  that  thev  have 
*  served  their  own  generation  '  have  performed  a 
task  of  the  rarest  difficulty  and  value.  It  is  easy 
to  catch  the  spirit  of  a  time  gone  by  and  be  a 
Laudator  temporis  acti.  It  is  hardly  less  easy  to 
dream  dreams  and  see  visions  of  the  coming  time, 
which  may  or  may  not  be  fulfilled.  But  to  some 
it  is  given  to  hear  with  understanding  the  voices 
of  their  own  day,  and  to  a  few  it  is  also  given  to 
catch  the  time  and  rhythm  of  its  music.  This  is 
the  distinction  which  belongs  to  Mr.  Crommelin 
Brown's  poems.  The  War  has  stirred  all  hearts, 
and  imagination  is  a  dangerous  gift  for  a  soldier. 
But  this  author  has  taken  with  him  to  the  battle- 
field the  fine  culture  of  his  former  days,  and  has 
set  the  wild  music  of  the  loud  and  roaring  time  to 
thoughts  and  emotions  gathered  from  wider  fields. 
All  the  tragedy  is  here,  and  he  looks  at  it  straight 
and  with  unflinching  eyes.  All  the  eternal  child- 
hood of  the  human  heart  is  here  also,  and  he 
expresses  it  in  his  own  language.  That  combina- 
tion of  tragedy  with  childlikeness  is  the  authentic 


note  of  to-day,  the  most  characteristic  spirit  of  the 
hour.  It  has  found  its  most  perfect  expression  in 
the  wonderful  poetry  of  Rupert  Brooke.  In  these 
poems  of  his  Cambridge  contemporary,  it  sounds 
clear  and  unmistakable. 

JOHN  KELMAN. 


VI 


CONTENTS 


PAGE 

Dedication        .... 

iii 

Foreword         .... 

V 

Rupert  Brooke 

9 

Gratias  Ago     .... 

II 

Morphia            .... 

•  13,  15 

Sonnets              .... 

17,  19,  21 

In  Montauban 

23 

The  Road  to  Ypres    . 

27 

The  Charge  of  the  Scots  Greys 

29 

The  Battle  of  the  Dogger   Bank 

33 

Submarines        .... 

37 

The  *  Lusitania,' 

39 

The  German  Dug-out 

41 

No-Man's  Land 

43 

An  Affair  of  Outposts 

47 

The  Charge     .... 

49 

The  Old   House-Master 

SI 

Dirge   for  Dead  Warriors 

53 

Missing;   Unofficially  Reported  Killed 

55 

The   Living   Dead 

57 

The   Dead   Lover 

59 

vu 


Lament  for  a  Young  Soldier 

6i 

The  Regiment  of  the  Dead  . 

6S 

Little  Soldier 

(^1 

The  Veteran  . 

69 

Troy    . 

71 

Ships,  Seas,  and   Men 

73 

Krupp  , 

75 

Nietzsche 

79 

Desiderata 

81 

Pastoral 

83 

Cumberland 

•         85 

Winchester  Revisited  . 

.         87 

Dilettante 

.         89 

Evening  and  the  Hills 

91 

VIU 


RUPERT  BROOKE 

1887-1915 

To  have  lived  and  loved — yea,  even  for  a  little, 

To  have  known  the  sun  and  fulness  of  the  earth  ; 
To  have  tested  joy  nor  stayed  to  prove  it  brittle. 

And  travelled  grief  to  find  it  end  in  mirth  ; 
To   have    loved    the   good  in   life,    and    followed, 
groping, 

Beauty  that  lives  among  the  common  things. 
Awaiting,  eager-eyed  and  strongly  hoping. 

The  faint  far  beating  of  an  angel's  wings. 

All  these  were  his.     And  with  his  soul's  releasing. 
Dearest  of  all,  immortal  youth  has  crowned  him, 
And  that  bright  spirit  is  young  eternally ; 
Dreaming,  he  hears  the  great  winds  blow  unceasing, 
And  over  him,  about  him,  and  around  him. 
The  music  and  the  thunder  of  the  sea. 


GRATIAS  AGO 

For  work  and  youth  and  friendships  worth  the 
prizing, 

For  health  and  hope  and  strivings  after  right, 
For  all  ideals  past  our  realising, 

For  books  and  music  and  the  stars  at  night, 
For  all  things  honourable,  all  things  pleasant. 

The  dream  that  lingers  and  the  thought  that 
flees, 
For  past  and  future  and  the  abiding  present, 

Come  what  come  may,  I  render  thanks  for  these. 

No  sweeter  joy  than  that  succeeding  sorrow, 
No  kindlier  sun  than  that  which  follows  rain. 

So,  on  some  splendid  bright  far-reaching  morrow, 
The  earth  will  smile  and  skies  be  blue  again. 

Meantime,  though  earth  and  skies  alike  are  riven, 

I  thank  the  gods  for  all  that  they  have  given. 


II 


MORPHIA 


Surely  this  is  most  wonderful  and  strange. 
Within  the  round  of  this  white  tiny  thing 
Are  powers  of  life  and  powers  of  death  which  bring 

So  sudden  and  so  merciful  a  change. 

To  ail  the  gates  of  sleep  I  hold  the  key ; 
Most  subtly  in  the  courses  of  the  brain 
This  shall  o'ermaster  my  o'crmastering  pain, 

And  all-too-vivid  sensibility. 

So  do  I  eat,  and  straightway  draw  the  blind 

Between  the  world's  wrack  and  this  struggling 
soul. 
Where  wish    and  will   maintain  their   endless 
fight; 
And  body's  ache  and  v/eariness  of  mind 

Lapse,  and  resolve,  and  sink  beyond  control 
In  negative  and  satisfying  night. 


13 


MORPHIA 


II 


Dimly  above,  as  divers  glimpse  the  light, 

I  eddy  upwards  towards  a  thing  half-seen  ; 

Sways  like  sea-currents,  fluidly  and  green, 
The  flood  of  consciousness  across  my  sight  ; 
Till,  one  by  one,  the  veils  are  stripped  away  ; 

The  smoke  of  slumber  blows  away  like  dust ; 

And  follows,  sudden  as  a  bayonet  thrust, 
The  swift  intolerable  light  of  day. 

So  once  again  my  faculties  are  hurled 

Into  the  space  of  smell  and  sense  and  sounds  . 

Of  feet  that  walk  interminable  rounds  .  .  . 
And  voices  muttering  across  the  world  .  .  . 

A  shapeless  Face  that  peers  and  pries  in  vain. 

O  God  !     O  God  !    Why  did  I  wake  again  ! 

Hospital,  1916. 


IS 


SONNETS 


I  DO  not  wish  that  I  should  scant  my  fill 

Of  love  and  grief  and  all  life  has  to  give  ; 

Lord,  keep  my  mind  awake,  and  let  me  live 
Nervous  and  sensitive  to  good  or  ill. 
Unaided  let  me  labour  out  my  task  ; 

With  mine  own  shoulders  bear  my  proper  load  ; 

No  sundered  heavens,  no  Voice  upon  the  road, 
Like  the  Damascus  call — none  such  I  ask. 

Yet  when  the  time  comes  for  my  journeying 
Into  the  cold  and  dark,  let  there  be  found 
Some  friendly  face,  some  well-remembered  sound, 
A  hand  upon  my  arm,  a  kindly  tone, 
Some  little  unconsidered  human  thing. 
So  that  I  pass  not  utterly  alone. 


17 


SONNETS 


II 


They  talk  and  move  about  me  as  a  show 
Where  all  are  adequate  and  none  sincere, 
And  everything  correct  and  nothing  clear, 

Studiously  cloaking  what  is  hid  below. 

Yet  do  I  know  that  underneath  there  lies 
A  separate  soul,  a  striving  pulsing  heart, 
A  spark  of  the  eternal  fires,  a  part 

Of  God  Himself,  that  looks  with  mortal  eyes. 

O  human  thought  beyond  all  human  speech  ! 
O  human  heart  beneath  the  fashioned  pose  ! 
O  human  love  that  craves  for  the  divine  ! 
Would  that  my  yearning  deep  desire  could  reach 
The  secret  springs  from  which  all  being  flows. 
And  touch  and  talk  with  that  white  soul  of  thine. 


19 


SONNETS 


III 


About  our  beings  we  create  a  fence 
Built  of  conventions  and  hypocrisies  ; 
Daily  we  tell  the  customary  lies 

And  move  about  our  business  of  pretence. 

And  yet,  within  this  hedge  of  deed  and  word, 
Lies  something  great  that  yearns  for  loftier  things, 
A  human  soul  inspired,  a  thrush  that  sings, 

But,  self-imprisoned,  never  can  be  heard. 

Ah,  tear  it  down,  this  veil  that  masks  the  light, 
Show  to  the  world  the  human  thing  you  are  ! 
Man    makes    you    false,   the    gods   have  built 

you  true ; 
Think,  act,  and  speak  the  godlike  truth  in  you, 
That  haply  in  the  dark  may  shine  a  star 
To  guide  a  stumbling  brother  through  the  night. 


The  Mermaid  Inn,  Rye, 
February  1 9 1 8 . 


21 


IN  MONTAUBAN 

Quietly  now,  when  the  rush  and  roar  of  battle  is 
over, 
In  the  wreck  of  the  ruined  shell-swept  street  he 
lies  ; 
The  pangs  of  death  have  left  no  mark  but  the  jaw 
dropped  open, 

And  patient  half-shut  eyes. 


Sixty  winters  have  laid  their  joys  and  sorrows  upon 
him, 
The  hair  is  silvered  which  once  was  brown  and 
thick. 
And,  near  the  hand  which  never  shall  grasp  them 
living. 

Are  placed  a  spade  and  pick. 


Some  old  gardener,  I  fancy,  who,  back  in  his  cottage 
in  England, 
Read  to  his  wife  of  a  Sunday  afternoon, 
While    the    sun    came    through    the    blinds,    and 
flowers  were  fragrant. 

And  bees  were  loud  in  June. 


23 


Some  old  gardener,  who,  reading  that  hands  were 
wanted, 
Strong  and  steady  and  cunning  with  pick  and 
spade. 
Dropped  his  paper,  and  went,  his  tools  on  shoulder. 
Forth  to  follow  his  trade. 

So  for  a  time  he  laboured  and  hoed  and  mended, 

Stealing  forth  in  the  dusk  when  others  sleep. 
He  and  yeomen  beside  him,  who  work  unknown, 
unnoticed, 

Making  the  trenches  deep. 

Then   last   night   through  the  stars  and   silences, 
sudden 
A  whistle  and  shattering  crash  like  a  thunder-roll. 
And  through  the  flying  bricks,  and  the  smoke,  and 
the  dust,  uprising 

His  startled  kindly  soul. 

So,  old  friend,  in  the  dawn  you  pass  to  a  greater 
sunrise. 
Beyond  the  spite  of  men  who  mangle  and  slay  ; 
And  God,  Who  loves  all  gardeners,  will  greet  you 
and  bid  you  enter 

His  sunnier  ampler  Day. 


24 


Widely  and  deep  I  dig,  disposing  the  tools  beside 
him, 
Crossing  the  toil-worn  hands  and  propping  the 
head, 
And  earth,  whose  fruits  he  honoured  and  worked 
for  living, 

Rest  on  him  lightly,  dead. 


25 


THE  ROAD  TO  YPRES 

Along  the  road  that  leads  to  Ypres, 

The  road  so  straight  and  fair, 
The  poplar  stands  in  serried  rows, 
And,  like  a  marching  army,  goes 

Eastward  from  Poperinghe  Square 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

The  sunny  road  that  leads  to  Ypres 

Has  borne  a  joyous  freight  ; 
Wagons  and  carts  and  market-drays 
Went  clattering  on  their  various  ways 

To  town  and  village,  fair  and  fete. 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

But  the  long  road  that  leads  to  Ypres 

Sees  now  a  sterner  sight ; 
In  strange  and  midnight  trafhckings. 
Shrapnel  and  shell  and  murderous  things 

Go  lumbering  through  the  starless  night 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

And  the  great  road  that  leads  to  Ypres, 
Remembers  too  with  pride. 


27 


The  night  when  those  who  strove  so  well 
Fought  for  a  space  with  fumes  from  hell, 
Then  staggered  back,  and,  choking,  died, 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

Beside  the  road  that  leads  to  Ypres, 
They  found  the  long  Road's  end  ; 
The  poplars  whisper  overhead. 
And  still  they  wait,  those  gallant  dead. 
To  march  a  mile  beside  a  friend 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

Along  the  road  that  leads  to  Ypres, 

So  many  fought  and  fell. 
With  every  corps  that  swings  along. 
With  every  lad  that  lilts  a  song, 

A  phantom  army  walks  as  well 
Along  the  road  to  Ypres. 

Across  the  ruin  that  was  Ypres 

A  tide  of  death  has  flowed, 
Yet,  wandering  through  the  Flemish  plains, 
The  road,  the  battered  road,  remains, 

A  haunted  road,  a  splendid  road. 
The  road  that  leads  to  Ypres. 


28 


THE  CHARGE  OF  THE  SCOTS  GREYS 

Grey  and  silver  in  the  morning,  see  the  bits  and 

bridles  shine. 
Grey  and  silver  in  the  sunlight,  they  are  trotting 

into  line  ; 
A  dozen  guns  to  silence  and  a  mile  of  plain  be- 
tween, 
As  the  '  terrible  grey  horses  '  cantered  out  across 

the  green. 
Across  the  plain  they  galloped,  through  a  blinding 

searing  hell, 
And  the  Lord  of  battles  only  knows  how  any  lived 

to  tell, 
But  they  're  through  it,  and  they  do  it,  and  the 

sabres  in  the  sun 
Flash  and  fall  amid  the  smoke-wreaths,  till  at  last 

that  work  is  done. 


Grey  and  silver  in  the  morning — ah,  how  gallantly 

they  wheel. 
Wheel   and  form  behind  the  batteries,   a  broken 

gleam  of  steel ; 


29 


And  a  whisper  and  a  clapping  down  the  crowded 

trenches  runs, 
As    the    shattered    remnant    canters    through    the 

shattered  German  guns. 
Their  wounded  and  their  dying  can  be  reckoned 

by  the  score, 
And  six  of  every   ten  of   them   will  never  gallop 

more  ; 
But  the  guns  are  put  to  silence  (with  a  mile  of  plain 

between  !) 
And  the  riderless  grey  horses  follow  back  across  the 

green. 


And   if  there  be   a  Paradise  where  gallant  horses 

go, 
I  think  on  phantom  battle-fields  they  charge  some 

phantom  foe. 
When  the  gods  are  fighting  o'er  again  their  old 

forgotten  wars, 
And  Armageddon  thunders  through  Valhalla's  open 

doors, 
'Midst  the  lilting  of  the  bugles  down  the  blood-red 

lists  of  Mars, 
Through    the    clash    of    armies    swaying    on    the 

trampled  fields  of  stars, 

30 


The   souls    of   German   gunners  scatter,  shrieking 

down  the  wind, 
With  those  '  terrible  grey  horses  '  drumming  after 

them  behind. 

I  have  to  thank  Mr.  Will.  Ogilvie  for  introducing  me  to  the  admir- 
able metrical  phrase  round  which  this  poem  is  written.  He  used  it  in  a 
poem  which  appeared  in  the  Scotsman  during  the  first  months  of  the 
war  ;  it  was  Napoleon,  I  believe,  who  first  alluded  to  the  'terrible  grey 
horses'  of  the  British  cavalrj'. 


31 


THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  DOGGER  BANK 

2^th  January,  1915. 

The  dawn  was  white  above  us,  the  sea  before  was 
grey, 

And  the  mist  was  lying  round  us  over  Queens- 
ferry  Bay, 

The  Sunday  bells  were  ringing  and  the  Sunday  folk 
were  singing 

When  the  wireless  started  speaking  and  the  Lion 
sailed  away. 

Four  cruisers  of  the  enemy  reported  out  at  sea, 

And  Edinburgh  sitting  there  as  quiet  as  could  be, 

But  we  hadn't  time  for  sermons  for  the  Fleet  was 
hunting  Germans, 

So  we  cleared  our  decks  for  action,  and  we  hauled 
our  cables  free. 


Then  silently  and  swiftly  our  destroyers  take  the 

tide, 
And  speedily,  how  speedily,   they  fling  the  miles 

aside. 
And  silent,  swift,  and  steady,  with  their  forward 

turrets  ready, 
Inevitably  after  them  the  battle-cruisers  glide. 

E  33 


The  wind  was  breathing  easy  Uke  a  tired  child  at 

rest, 
And  the  coast  of  England  hanging  like  a  shadow 

in  the  West, 
When   a   wisp   of  smoke   appearing   started   every 

sailor  cheering. 
And  we  saw  the  flagship  signalling  for  battle  line 

abreast. 


Then  the  stokers  stripped  and  sweated  down  with 

every  ounce  they  'd  got, 
And    they   scrapped  the    chairs    for    fuel   just    to 

gain  an  extra  knot. 
And  the  decks  beneath  were  humming,   and  the 

screws  behind  us  thrumming. 
And  the  pulses  in  our  ears  were  drumming  loudest 

of  the  lot. 
The  Germans  wheeled  before  us  ere  the  sighting 

shots  had  scored. 
And  after  them,  and  after  them  the  battle-cruisers 

roared  ; 
For  a  hundred  miles  we  chased  them,  till  we  finally 

out-paced  them, 
And  we  fought  them  to  a  finish  for  the  glory  of 

the  liOrd. 


34 


There  are  widows  out  in  Germany  who  weep  and 

watch  in  vain 
For  twice  five  hundred  sailors  who  will  never  sail 

again, 
And  the  sweethearts  there  are  weeping  for  the  men 

beyond  their  keeping 
Who  are  sleeping  in  the  silence  of  the  everlasting 

main. 
Then  here  's  a  health  to  England  and  the  flag  that 

flutters  free, 
And  to  every  gallant  fighter  on  whichever  side  he 

be, 
And  when  fleets  engage  together  may  they  find 

good  fighting  weather, 
As  we  found  it  on  the  Sunday  when  the  Lion  put 

to  sea. 


35 


SUBMARINES 

By  paths  unknown  to  Nelson's  days 

Our  swift  flotillas  prowl  below, 
We  go  upon  our  various  ways 

Where  Drake  and  Howard  might  not  go  ; 
Unheard,  intangible  as  air, 

Unseen,  yet  seeing  all  things  plain. 
While  ships  and  wild-eyed  seamen  stare, 

We  pass,  and  strike,  and  pass  again. 


No  sun  upon  our  wake  is  seen. 

No  night  looks  down  upon  our  deeds. 
But  broken  half-lights,  strangely  green, 

Gleam  tangled  in  the  swaying  weeds  ; 
Dim  vistas  loom  before  our  eyes. 

Vast  shapes  across  our  vision  flee, 
And  round  about  our  feet  there  lies 

The  twilit  silence  of  the  sea. 


Beside  our  tracks,  half-guessed  at,  dim, 
The  creatures  of  the  ocean  browse, 

Yet  none  so  dreadful,  none  so  grim. 
As  those  we  carry  in  our  bows. 


37 


The  navies  of  forgotten  Kings 
Lie  scattered  on  the  ocean  bed  ; 

We  float  among  prodigious  things, 
We  that  are  neither  quick  nor  dead. 

There,  in  their  never-ending  sleep, 

The  sailors  of  a  bygone  day 
Dream  of  the  land  they  died  to  keep, 

A  land  more  permanent  than  they  ; 
And  we  who  have  new  ways  of  war, 

Strange  means  of  death  beyond  their  ken 
Oh,  may  we  fight  as  fought  before 

Our  fathers,  who  begat  us  men  ! 

So,  where  the  tides  and  tempest  rust 

The  shattered  argosies  of  Spain, 
We  praise  the  gods  who  now  entrust 

This  England  to  our  charge  again  ; 
Then  with  thanksgiving,  as  is  meet 

From  such  as  hold  their  lives  in  pawn. 
We  glimmer  upwards  till  we  greet 

The  grey  relentless  Channel  Dawn. 


38 


A>C 


THE  LUSH  AN  1 A 


In  a  world  that  is  neither  night  nor  day, 

A  quiet  twiht  land, 
With  fifty  fathoms  over  you 
And  the  surge  of  seas  to  cover  you, 

You  rest  on  the  kindly  sand. 

Dim  fluctuant  forms  with  goggle  eyes 

About  you  rise  and  fall, 
And  monstrous  things  take  stock  of  you, 
Mumble  and  mouth  and  mock  at  you, 

But  move  you  not  at  all. 

Above,  the  earth  is  March  or  May, 

And  skies  are  fair  in  Spring. 
But  all  the  seasons  are  one  with  you. 
Summer  and  winter  are  done  with  you, 
And  wars,  and  everything. 

Surely  this  is  a  goodly  gift. 

To  sleep  so  sound  and  sure 
That  neither  spite  nor  dreariness, 
Passions  nor  pain  nor  weariness, 

Can  reach  you  any  more. 


39 


Nor  swift  corruption  comes,  but  slow 

And  imperceptibly 
You  '11  alter,  not  as  others  must. 
To  dead  and  unresponsive  dust, 

But  into  living  sea. 

Thus  when  your  members  are  dissolved 

You  '11  move  and  live  again, 
And  mix,  and  smoothly,  blendingly, 
Change  and  range  unendingly 

About  the  endless  main. 

In  drifting  spume  and  flying  scud. 

When  the  great  tides  shoreward  sweep, 
The  seas,  that  are  all  in  all  to  you. 
Whisper  and  move  and  call  to  you, 
Whisper  and  call  and  weep. 


40 


THE  GERMAN  DUG-OUT 

Forty  feet  down 

A  room  dug  out  of  the  clay, 

Roofed  and  strutted  and  tiled  complete ; 

The  floor  still  bears  the  mark  of  feet 

(Feet  that  never  will  march  again  !), 

The  doorposts'  edge  is  rubbed  and  black 

(Shoulders  that  never  will  lift  a  pack 

Stooping  in  through  the  wind  and  rain  !), 

Forty  feet  from  the  light  of  day, 

Forty  feet  down. 

A  week  ago 

Sixteen  men  lived  there, 

Lived,  and  drank,  and  slept,  and  swore, 

Smoked,  and  shivered,  and  cursed  the  war, 

Wrote  to  their  people  at  home  maybe, 

While  the  rafters  shook  to  the  thudding  guns ; 

Husbands,  fathers,  and  only  sons. 

Sixteen  fellows  like  you  and  me 

Lived  in  that  cavern  twelve  foot  square 

A  week  ago. 

Into  the  dark 

Did  a  cry  ring  out  on  the  air. 


41 


Or  died  they  stiffly  and  unafraid 

In  the  crash  and  flame  of  the  hand-grenade  ? 

We  took  the  trench  and  its  mounded  dead, 

And  the  tale  of  their  end  is  buried  deep, 

A  secret  which  sixteen  corpses  keep 

With  the  sixteen  souls  which  gasped  and  fled 

Up  forty  steps  of  battered  stair, 

Into  the  dark. 

Forty  feet  down, 

Veiled  from  the  decent  sky. 

The  clay  of  them  turns  to  its  native  clay. 

And  the  stench  is  a  blot  in  the  face  of  day. 

Men  are  a  murderous  breed,  it  seems, 

And  these,  maybe,  are  quieter  so  ; 

Their  spirits  have  gone  where  such  things  go  ; 

Nor  worms  nor  wars  can  trouble  their  dreams  ; 

And  their  sixteen  twisted  bodies  lie 

Forty  feet  down. 


42 


NO-MAN'S  LAND 

After  the  long  weeks,  my  son,  we  meet  at  last. 
The  times  have  gone   above   us   both  so  fast — so 

fast 
That  but  an  eyelid's  fall  would  seem  to  span 
The  years  that  changed  you  from  a  boy  to  man  .  .  . 
You  with  the  blossom-face,  and  eyes  of  wonder 
Blue    as    the    strange    new    skies    you    wandered 

under. 
All  was  so  fresh  to  you — the  world  a  toy — 
Vivid,  bewildering,  delightful  boy  .  .  . 
You  with  new  knowledge  and  the  heart  of  youth 
For  ever  seeking  the  eternal  Truth.  .  .  . 
Child — boy — man — all  that  my  heart  held  dear — 
All  that  was  You — except  the  soul — ^lies  here. 

So  strangely  still  !     And  I  to  see  your  face 
Must  creep  in  darkness  to  this  fateful  place. 
The  dreadful  midst,  where  but  to  raise  a  head 
Will  add  another  to  the  unburied  dead, 
Where  noiselessly  a  dozen  yards  away 
Nerve-shattered  men  await  the  dawning  day. 
And    search,    with   fingers    twitching    on    their 

triggers, 
For  fancied  forms  and  fear-created  figures. 

43 


Ah,  you  are  wise  and  quiet  !     Saner  far 

Than  these  poor  shaken  desperate  creatures  are, 

Or  I,  who  crouch  beneath  the  scudding  sky 

Ready  to  kill,  or,  failing  that,  to  die, 

Flattening  myself  like  any  hunted  hare 

Beneath  the  moonlight  and  the  starshell's  flare. 

God  !    has  the  world  gone  mad  that  men  should 

creep 
To  slay  an  unknown  brother  in  his  sleep  ! 
This  silent  congregation  is  more  wise 
Than  all  live  things  which  crawl  beneath  the  skies. 

Gropingly  in  the  dark  my  fingers  trace 
Each  feature  of  the  well-remembered  face  .  .  . 
The  firm  young  mouth,  straight  nose,  and  boyish 

brow. 
The  eyes  whose  wonderment  is  over  now 
(The  night  lies  heavy  on  their  dawning  blue) ; 
For  the  last  time  I  run  my  fingers  through 
The  fair  young  locks,  sun-kissed  and  touched  to 

gold  .  .  . 
For  the  last  time  my  fingers  find  and  hold 
Those  strong  young  fingers,  now  so  cold — so  cold  ! 

A  week,  my  son,  I  sought  the  place  you  fell ; 
Now  I  have  found  you.     Greeting  and  farewell ! 

44 


O  God,  whose  Son  was  mangled  on  a  tree, 
By  my  poor  mangled  son  I  pray  to  Thee  : 
Let  peace  and  pity  ring  this  earth  about, 
Or  send  Thy  thunderbolts  and  blot  us  out ! 


45 


AN  AFFAIR  OF  OUTPOSTS 

Throughout  the  heat  of  a  July  afternoon^ 
Bullet  for  bullet,  they  held  the  stricken  Jieldy 

Four  hundred  rifles  against  a  torn  platoon 

That  swayed  and  tottered  and  fought,  hut  would 
not  yield. 

Behind  the  trees  he  saw  the  sunset  flame, 

And  turned  and  waited  the  end  so  long  foreseen  ; 

*  Sergeant,  what  of  the  fight  ?  '     And  the  answer 
came, 
*  Of  sixty  men  we  reckon  a  bare  sixteen.' 

Perhaps,  at  home,  the  School  were  watching  a  stand, 
While  the  shadows  lengthened  and  lay  across  the 
grass. 
And  the  two  in  the  middle  were  playing  a  lonely 
hand. 
With  the  bowling  keen,  and  a  desperate  hour  to 
pass. 

'Twas  difficult  work  whenever  the  sun  got  low  ; 

The  last  half-hour  was  ever  the  worst  for  light — 
'  Sergeant,  Sergeant,  how  do  the  chances  go  ?  ' 

But  none  replied  save  the  rattle  and  roar  of  the 
fight. 

47 


Shadow  by  shadow  he  watched  the  dusk  begin 
While   the   circle   of  fire  crept   nearer   and  yet 
more  near  ; 
In  Norfolk  now  the  duck  would  be  coming  in, 
As  he  'd  seen  them  flighting  homeward  many  a 
year. 

But  never  a  duck  from  all  that  sunset  fen, 

And  never  a  trick  that  the  best  of  bowlers  tried 
Had  warmed  his  heart  as  the  blood  was  tingling 
then, 
*  This   is   Hfe,    this    is   sport  !  '   he   cried,    and, 
smiling,  died. 

'Though  armies  perish  and  empires  fall  apart, 
Though  life  be  robbed  of  all  life  has  to  give, 

The  chivalry  learnt  in  youth,  the  joyous  heart. 
These  are  abiding,  these  are  the  things  that  live. 


THE  CHARGE 

You  who  are  sure  where  once  ye  saw  not  surely, 
You  who  are  strong  who  sometimes  proved  you 
weak, 
Who  now  are  pure,  yet   might  not  have  walked 
purely, 
Out  of  the  battle-field  to  you  I  speak. 


Yes,  and  a  greater  voice  than  mine  is  calling 
Across  the  ruin  of  this  blood-drenched  plain. 

Where,  day  by  day,  our  English  youth  is  falling, 
And  Christ  is  hourly  crucified  again. 


Not  to  the  perfect  pilgrim  is  it  given 

To  heal  the  griefs  in  which  he  had  no  share. 

But  weaker  souls  who  hardly  won  their  heaven, 
May  better  hope  to  raise  their  fellows  there. 


Now  when  the  world  is  racked  to  its  foundation, 
The  voices  of  the  dead  are  in  your  ears. 

Into  your  hands  they  dedicate  this  nation, 

To  mould  and  strengthen  in  the  coming  years : 

G  49 


That  not  in  vain  these  young  lives  may  be  taken, 
Nor  vain  be  all  the  tragedy  of  war, 

But  in  your  charge  their  England  may  awaken, 
Peaceful,  and  pure,  and  excellent  once  more. 


50 


THE  OLD  HOUSE-MASTER 

*  The  blood  ran  red  in  these  young  brains  and 
limbs, 

Clear-eyed  and  laughing,  lovers  of  the  day, 
They  played  their  games,  and  worked,  and  sang 
their  hymns, 

Finished  their  course,  and  passed  upon  their  way. 
Now  they  have  died,  and  nought  remains  of  all 

That  spring  of  life  in  which  they  had  their  part, 
But  names  half-carved,  and  portraits  on  the  wall, 

And  memories  of  laughter  in  the  heart.' 

So  muses  he  upon  his  boyish  dead, 

Through  the  dumb  night,  while  others  in  their 
prime. 
His  youthful  England,  slumber  overhead  ; 
Then  shuts  the  book  upon  his  knee  unread, 

And  lights  his  candle  for  the  thousandth  time, 
And  cHmbs  alone  his  creaky  way  to  bed. 


51 


DIRGE  FOR  DEAD  WARRIORS 

Ye  that  have  perished  ere  the  morning  broke, 

Ye  whom  death  conquered  when  the  noon  was 
clear, 
And  ye  who  left  us  in  the  battle  smoke 

Through  the  long  twilights  of  the  latter  year, 
When  home  was  far,  and  death  and  sorrow  near, 

When  hope  burnt  feebly  in  a  mist  of  pain. 
Glory  ye  sought,  which  casteth  out  all  fear — 

Take  comfort,  for  ye  have  not  lived  in  vain. 

And  ye  that  pass  upon  the  sea  in  ships. 

Whose  businesses  upon  great  waters  lie. 
Who  met  the  death  unseen  with  smiling  lips 

And  gave  your  lives  lest  other  men  should  die, 
Lo  !   through  the  steep  confusion  of  the  sky, 

Above  the  surge  and  thunder  of  the  main, 
A  voice  thrills  downward  like  a  battle-cry, 

*  Take  comfort,  for  ye  have  not  lived  in  vain.' 


No  place  was  ours  among  the  rank  and  file 
Of  war  ;   for  us  no  sudden  trumpets  pealed  ; 

But  ours  to  gather  and  to  mourn  awhile 
The  sad  and  splendid  leavings  of  the  field. 


53 


To  you — to  you  'twas  given  to  bear  the  shield, 
To  guard  and  cherish  it  without  a  stain — 

And  when,  in  God's  good  time,  these  wounds  are 
healed, 
Take  comfort,  for  ye  have  not  lived  in  vain. 

Ah  !   valiant  souls,  whose  marching  days  are  o'er, 

Who  went  to  battle  like  a  banquet  spread. 
Who  having  walked  amid  the  ways  of  war. 

Now  tread  the  echoing  pathways  of  the  dead, 
Others  have  passed  where  now  your  spirits  tread, 

Who  perished  that  the  world  might  live  again, 
To  them  and  you  alike  it  shall  be  said, 

'  Take  comfort,  for  ye  have  not  lived  in  vain.' 

Nobles,  and  captains,  and  ye  princely  ghosts, 
Shadows  of  shades  and  monarchies  inane, 

When  ye  shall  answer  to  the  Lord  of  Hosts, 
Take  comfort,  for  ye  have  not  lived  in  vain. 


54 


MISSING  :  UNOFFICIALLY  REPORTED 
KILLED 

Was  it  in  the  noonday  that  you  left  us, 
When  the  ranks  were  wrapped  in  smoke  ? 

Or  did  you  pass  unnoticed  on  the  midnight, 
Ere  the  chiller  morning  broke  ? 

Did  the  lust  and  heat  of  battle  find  you  ready, 

Shoulders  braced  and  heart  aflame  ? 
Or  did  death  steal  by  and  take  you  unexpected, 

When  the  final  summons  came  ? 

Not  amidst  the  companies  and  clamour 

Of  this  horror  men  call  War, 
Where  man,  the  godlike,  tramples  down  his  fellows 

To  the  dust  they  were  before ; 

But  on  some  still  November  morning 

When  the  frost  was  in  the  air, 
Noiselessly  your  strong  soul  took  its  passing. 

And  I,  your  friend,  not  there — ^not  there  ! 

Silently  the  dead  leaves  swing  and  settle 

In  their  appointed  place  ; 
The  season  of  the  singing  birds  is  over. 

The  winter  sets  apace. 

55 


Somewhere  in  the  ruin  of  the  autumn, 

When  the  hosts  of  war  are  sped, 
They  will  find  you,   'midst  the  quiet  wondering 
faces 

Of  the  unnumbered  dead. 


S6 


THE  LIVING  DEAD 

Dead  men  are  blind,  and  cannot  know 
The  common  beauties  of  the  earth  ; 

They  cannot  watch  the  wild-flower  blow, 
They  do  not  see  the  day-star's  birth. 

Dead  men  are  deaf.     The  Hps  that  pray, 
The  priest  and  the  philosopher. 

The  myriad  flutes  of  Arcady 

Trouble  them  not,  they  cannot  stir. 

Dead  men  are  dumb.     The  noisy  stream 
May  roar  and  clamour  overhead ; 

The  lover's  song,  the  poet's  dream. 
To  them  are  nothing,  being  dead. 

The  dust  of  death  is  on  their  eyes, 
The  clay  of  death  is  in  their  ears, 

And  on  their  pallid  lips  there  lies 
The  silence  of  the  iron  years. 

Yet,  England,  weep  not  overlong. 

But  praise  thou,  with  thy  latest  breath. 

These  men  who  in  their  lives  were  strong, 
But  prove  them  stronger  still  in  death. 

H  57 


Dead  they  may  be,  but  never  dumb  ; 

Deaf — but  what  music  wakes  their  ears. 
The  echoes  of  an  age  to  come, 

The  deep-toned  chanting  of  the  spheres. 

Their  voices,  trumpet-calls  to  war, 
Hearten  each  warrior  on  his  way, 

And  in  their  eyes  foreshadowed  far 
The  radiance  of  a  larger  day. 


58 


THE  DEAD  LOVER 

Were  you  quick  and  active  once — ^you  that  lie  so 

still  ? 
Did  your  brain  run  nimbly  once,  your  lungs  expand 

and  fill  ? 
Were  problems  worth  the  trying,  was  living  worth 

the  dying  ? 
Did  the  flying  moment  pay  you  for  the  labour  up 

the  hill  ? 

Ah,  you  stay  so  silent  now  !   you  could  tell  me  why 
Woods  are  green  in  April  now,  and  men  are  made 

to  die. 
Do  you  feel  the  spring,  I  wonder,  through  the  turf 

you  're  sleeping  under, 
Though  the  thunder  and  the  sunshine  cannot  reach 

you  where  you  lie  ? 

The  good  rain  trickles  down  to  you  and  laps  your 

limbs  about. 
The  young  grass  has  its  roots  in  you,  your  bones 

and  members  sprout. 
Ah,   poor   untimely   lover,   in   new   fashion   you  '11 

discover 
That   clover  still    is   fragrant,   and   the  primroses 

are  out. 


59 


Though  the  old  uneasy  feeling  cannot  wake  you 

sleeping  there, 
Nor  the  soft  spring  breezes  dally  with  your  crisp 

delightful  hair, 
Yet  the  flowers  are  round  you  clinging,  and  the  dust 

about  you  springing, 
And  your  singing  spirit  wanders  like  an  essence  on 

the  air. 


60 


LAMENT  FOR  A  YOUNG  SOLDIER 

Light  they  were  once,  the  spirits  that  are  lagging 
now, 
Clouded  the  eyes  that  looked  so  clear  and  gay, 
Nimble  the    feet   that    fall  so    faint   and  flagging 
now, 
Heavy  the  heart  since  Michael  went  away. 

Ah,  you  were  strong  who  trod  the  earth  so  happily, 
Stronger   and   cleaner   than   your   own   straight 
sword ; 
And  great  you  were,  though  life  brought  nothing 
great  to  you. 
Save  at  the  last  this  crowning  great  reward. 

Surely  of  all  that  the  gods  have  to  give  to  us 

Nought  that  was  pleasant  had  they  left  to  give  ; 

Nothing  you  knew  of  sordidness  or  sorrow. 
Nothing  but  laughter  and  the  wish  to  live. 

Far  from  this  England  that  was  ever  dear  to  you, 
Bright  now  with  blossoms  and  the  bloom  of  May, 

You,  who  so  loved  her  sunlight  and  her  starlight, 
Watch  for  the  dawning  of  a  wider  day. 

6i 


Not  for  you  now  the  chaffinch  in  the  hedgerow, 
The  long  low  twilight  in  the  rain-sweet  lane, 

The  great  winds  blowing  from  the  south  across  the 
downland, 
Spring-time,  or  harvest,  or  sunset  after  rain. 

Yet  though  I  ne'er  shall  meet  you  in  the  body, 
Hourly  I  find  you  near  me  when  I  pass  ; 

Lingers    your    laughter    round    each    well-known 
corner. 
Rustle  your  footsteps  beside  me  in  the  grass. 

And  when  the  time  shall  come  for  me  to  follow 
Over  the  flood  where  Charon  plies  his  oar, 

Well  do  I  know  that  I  shall  find  you  waiting 
First  of  the  phantoms  on  the  Stygian  shore  ; 

Gaily  you  '11  greet  me  in  remembered  fashion. 
Taking  my  arm  the  old  familiar  way, 

And  wander  down  Elysian  meads,  recalling 
Faces  and  fancies  of  a  bygone  day. 

So  till  that  time  sleep  softly,  O  my  brother, 

Softly  and  sound  as  you  slumbered  in  the  past ; 

Love,  which  is  stronger  and  deeper  than  eternity, 
Shall  cover,  and  comfort,  and  wake  you  at  the 
last. 

62 


Light  they  were  once^   the  spirits  that  are  lagging 
now^ 

Clouded  the  eyes  that  looked  so  clear  and  gay, 
Nimble  the  feet  that  fall  so  faint  and  flagging  now. 

Heavy  the  heart  since  Michael  went  away. 


May,  1918. 


63 


THE  REGIMENT  OF  THE  DEAD 

When  the  moon  shows  pale  above  the  chimney- 
tops 

And  the  street  gleams  white  and  wide, 
When  the  clock  ticks  loudly  on  the  mantelpiece, 

And  the  house  is  dark  inside, 
Softly,  sudden  in  the  silences 

When  the  hours  are  small  and  new, 
Just   below  you  in   the   street  you   can  hear  the 
tramp  of  feet 

That  are  marching,  marching  through. 

Horse,  foot,  officers,  and  batteries. 

With  dumb  drums  beating  a  tattoo, 
The  Regiment  of  the  Dead,  with  its  Colonel  at  its  head. 

Is  marching,  marching  through. 

It 's  a  regiment  that  never  needs  recruiting, 

It  takes  our  favourite  and  best. 
Boys  and  middle-aged  and  veterans 

With  ribbons  pinned  across  their  breast ; 
They  wear  all  sorts  of  motley  uniforms, 

Khaki  and  red  and  blue. 
And  you  '11  see  their  medals  gleam  as  the  Army  of 
a  dream 

Goes  marching,  marching  through. 

•  65 


When  the  shadows  grow  human  and  mysterious, 

And  the  trees  loom  large  against  the  sky, 
You  can  hear  them  drumming  through  the  country- 
side 

As  they  drummed  in  the  days  gone  by. 
'Way  !     Make  way  for  their  companies  ! 

Clear  !     Stand  clear  from  before  ! 
And  give  them  a  salute  when   the  last  footfall  is 
mute 

And  the  street  is  still  once  more. 

Horse^foot^  officers,  and  batteries, 

With  dumb  drums  beating  a  tattoo, 
The  Regiment  of  the  Dead,  with  its  Colonel  at  its  head, 

Is  marching,  marching  through. 


66 


LITTLE  SOLDIER 

Are  you  happy,  little  soldier,  with  your  sword  and 
hat  and  gun, 
As   you    march   across   the   hearth-rug   up   and 
down  ? 
Do  you  dream  of  flags  and  cheering,  and  of  lances 
in  the  sun  ? 
Do  you  hear   the   bugles   playing   through  the 
town  ? 


Believe  me,  little  soldier,  War  has  grimmer  sights 
than  these, 
When  the  tearing  shells  are  busy  overhead, 
When  the  man  who  never  knows  it  kills  a  man  he 
never  sees, 
And  the  women  mourn  in  silence  for  their  dead. 


The  limbs  so  young  and  active  once  are  quiet  now 
and  tame. 
And  empty  are  the  hopes  of  yesterday ; 
I  fancy,  little  soldier,  War  's  a  sorry  sort  of  game. 
When  the  fireworks  and  the  bands  have  ceased 
to  play. 

67 


Since  men  are  neither  good  nor  wise,  such  things  as 
these  must  be, 
And  ours  it  is  to  see  the  matter  through, 
That  the  world  may  be  a  cleaner  place  in  nineteen- 
thirty-three 
For  decent  little  soldier-men  like  you. 


68 


THE  VETERAN 

Get  me  a  horse  to  ride,  lad  ; 

Open  the  stable-door  ; 
Buckle  a  sword  to  my  side,  lad, 

And  let  me  away  to  war. 
My  fighting  time  is  past  its  prime, 

My  hair  is  touched  with  snow, 
But  my  Hmbs  are  light  and  my  heart  is  right, 

What  more  can  a  youngster  show  ? 


Nine  years  with  the  Meynell  Hunt,  lad. 

And  seasons  twelve  with  the  Quorn  ! 
But  there  's  bigger  game  at  the  front,  lad, 

Than  ever  fox  was  born  ! 
I  've  followed  straight  o'er  ditch  and  gate 

Wherever  the  field  was  set, 
But  I  'm  off,  my  son,  for  the  fastest  run. 

And  the  finest  finish  yet. 


I  'm  sick  of  the  folk  that  talk,  lad, 
I  'm  sick  of  the  folk  that  write, 

For  while  a  fellow  can  walk,  lad, 
A  fellow  can  surely  fight. 

69 


I  'd  sooner  feel  the  German  steel 
And  die  where  the  cannons  roll, 

Than  shiver  alone  by  a  chill  hearth-stone 
With  the  iron  in  my  soul. 


70 


TROY 

Here  lay  the  ships.     Upon  this  strand 

The  ten-year  battle  was  begun, 
Here  great  Achilles  took  his  stand 

And  Priam  pleaded  for  his  son. 
The  ships  have  rotted  and  decayed, 

The  warriors  are  dust  and  mould, 
And  Troy  the  shadow  of  a  shade  ; 

For  nigh  three  thousand  years  have  rolled 
Since  Hector  fought  and  Homer  sung, 
When  Greece  and  all  the  world  was  young. 


A  nobler  Navy  breasts  the  waves, 

Across  the  plain  fresh  armies  go, 
Once  more  above  those  quiet  graves 

From  dusk  to  dawn  the  watch-fires  glow. 
Perchance  some  bugle  faintly  blown, 

Some  distant  echo  of  the  fight, 
May  bring  them,  sleeping  there  alone, 

The  memory  of  another  night 
When,  black  beneath  the  Southern  Cross, 
The  lean  ships  came  from  Tenedos. 


71 


And,  if  the  gods  are  good  and  just, 

The  march  of  feet  will  rouse  the  dead, 
Some  dust  of  all  that  gallant  dust 

Will  rise  and  eddy  overhead, 
Mingle  awhile  with  other  ghosts 

To  wage  their  battles  o'er  again. 
And  mark  the  trampling  of  our  hosts 

Across  their  old  familiar  plain, 
Then  when  the  fight  is  past  and  spent 
Sink  into  silence,  well  content. 

April,  1915. 


72 


SHIPS,  SEAS,  AND  MEN 

A  Song  of  Ships.     Of  wheeling  gulls 
Of  sun,  and  cloud,  and  windy  skies 
Above  the  endless  ocean  ways. 
Ye  ships  of  war,  those  lean  black  hulls 
Whose  smoke  on  our  horizon  lies. 
Guardians  of  peace,  to  you  I  raise, 
Where'er  your  stormy  ensign  dips. 
This  song  of  ships. 


A  Song  of  Seas.     Seas  infinite 
As  Time  itself,  and  salt  as  tears 
Of  those  who  mourn  an  Empire's  pride. 
The  legend  of  our  race  is  writ 
In  water  ;   our  unstable  years 
Shift  with  the  shifting  of  the  tide. 
Mark  ye,  whose  hopes  are  based  on  these, 
This  Song  of  Seas. 


A  Song  of  Men.     Whose  lives  are  sand 
Blown  for  an  instant  into  view. 
Your  little  days,  so  swiftly  done, 
Ye  offer  freely  for  your  land  : 


73 


Ye  perish,  but  the  souls  of  you 
Rise  up  like  incense  in  the  sun. 
Accept  this  dedication  then, 
This  Song  of  Men. 


74 


/ 
KRUPP  \       .''^  % 

These  guns  are  works  of  art  you  sell, 

So  smooth  and  bright,  so  round  and  hard, 
And  can  they  really  throw  a  shell 

A  dozen  miles,  nor  swerve  a  yard  ? 
A  tug  upon  this  lanyard — so — 

And  then,  a  dozen  miles  away, 
Some  harmless  soul  you  do  not  know, 

Some  startled  spirit,  leaves  the  day. 

Yes,  curious  wages  you  must  give. 

For  'tis  a  curious  trade  you  ply. 
This  earning  of  the  means  to  live 

By  causing  other  men  to  die. 
Why,  if  a  man  for  half  a  year 

Should  slay  while  he  had  strength  to  slay, 
His  killings  would  not  compass  near 

What  these  could  work  in  half  a  day ! 

Consider,  then  !     A  price  we  fix  : 

For  every  gun  nine  hundred  rounds, 
And  every  round  will  cost  you  six. 

And  every  gun  a  thousand  pounds. 
Each  shot  kills  eight.     A  simple  task 

For  him  to  reckon  out  who  may. 
But,  what  the  price  of  souls,  you  ask  ? 

What  matter  !     Souls  are  cheap  to-day. 


75 


Your  forges  roar,  your  workshops  hum, 

The  air  is  thick  with  dust  and  oil. 
And  all  day  long  the  orders  come, 

And  all  day  long  your  myriads  toil. 
Such  times  to  you  are  life  and  breath, 

Your  men  are  drawing  double  pay, 
For  war,  which  brings  to  others  death, 

Brings  you  a  thousand  pounds  a  day. 

Your  gold  is  wrought  of  grief  and  fears. 

Your  silver  agony  and  pain, 
Each  note  is  drenched  with  blood  and  tears. 

And  on  each  coin  the  brand  of  Cain. 
The  ruined  homestead  black  with  smoke, 

The  widowed  wives,  the  orphans — ^yea, 
The  lives  of  simple  country  folk, 

Make  up  your  thousand  pounds  a  day. 

There  was  a  man  of  old  who  sought 

To  sell  another  for  a  price. 
For  thirty  pieces  he  was  bought 

And  in  the  Potter's  Field  he  Hes. 
Ah  !    think  while  yet  your  life  is  whole, 

While  yet  you  have  the  heart  to  pray, 
What  you  shall  say  to  each  sad  soul 

That  fronts  you  on  the  Judgment  Day. 

76 


Not  all  Golconda's  jewelled  stores, 

Nor  Eldorado's  fabled  land, 
Would  make  me  change  my  lot  with  yours, 

Or  stand  where  you  some  time  must  stand. 
For  peace  of  mind  is  best,  nor  might 

The  wealth  of  all  the  world  outweigh 
Such  dreams  as  come  to  you  by  night, 

Such  thoughts  as  trouble  you  by  day. 


n 


NIETZSCHE 

I  DREAMT  that  tliere  was  merriment  in  hell. 
And  as  each  meagre  new-departed  sprite 
Came  hesitating  forward  to  the  light 

To  warm  itself,  there  followed  straight  a  yell 

Of  devils'-mirth,  for  trade  was  doing  well. 
And  when  in  Flanders  fiercer  grew  the  fight, 
So  thicker  thronged  the  phantoms  through  the 
night, 

Louder  that  gusty  laughter  rose  and  fell. 

Lastly  they  turned  to  one  apart,  who  furled 
A  cloak  about  his  face.     *  Oh  !   make  reply 

Thou,  who  hast  said  this  Christ  corrupts  the  world, 
And  men  no  longer  have  the  will  to  die. 

These  thousands  perished  for  a  treaty.     What 

Hast  thou  to  say  ?  '     But  Nietzsche  answered  not. 


79 


DESIDERATA 

Some  songs   I   have   which   might   be   worth   the 
making, 

Some  dreams  to  fashion  ere  the  journey's  end, 
Some  flowers  I  know  fragrant  and  fair  for  taking, 

Some  books  to  read,  some  fireside  hours  to  spend. 

Some  work  to  finish,  still  in  its  beginnings, 
Some  friends  to  meet,  some  places  still  to  see, 

Some  games  to  play,  and  many  a  sunlit  innings 
Still  to  be  hoped  for  in  the  years  to  be. 

There  's  a  long  avenue  of  elms  out  yonder, 
Golden  and  splendid  in  an  English  sun, 

And  sunken  lanes  down  which  I  fain  would  wander 
In  Sussex  when  the  hawthorn  has  begun. 

Yet  should  the  end  come  suddenly  upon  me 
And  take  these  things  untimely  from  my  ken, 

You,  O  my  brothers,  who  have  met  and  known  me, 
I  would  not  wish  you  to  mistake  me  then. 

Deem  me  as  one  who  loved,  and,  greatly  loving, 
Found  the  world  full  of  melody  and  mirth. 

And  to  the  end,  firm-fixed  past  all  removing. 
Cherished  the  beauty  and  the  joy  of  earth. 

L  8i 


And  it  may  be  that  he  who,  much  mistaken, 
Cried  for  the  future  and  forgot  the  past, 

In  some  surprising  daybreak  shall  awaken 
To  find  his  dreams  fulfilled  for  him  at  last. 

So  when  the  spring  comes  in,  serene  and  tender, 
Still  shall  he  mark  it  from  those  distant  realms, 

And  through  broad  places,  full  of  sun  and  splendour, 
Saunter  again  beneath  the  Sussex  elms. 

There  shall  he  know  nor  sorrowing  nor  pity, 
But  the  old  tunes  and  voices  lost  so  long, 

Where,  citizens  of  an  abiding  city. 

Imperfect  singers  find  the  perfect  song. 


82 


PASTORAL 

Say,  did  you  ever  stand  beside 

And  watch  the  waters  coolly  glide 

And  sing  their  little  happy  tune 

Beneath  an  Enghsh  April  moon, 

When  the  young  heavens  are  fresh  and  new. 

Dusted  with  stars  and  misty-blue. 

When  all  the  world  seems  out-of-date, 

Mystical,  indeterminate  ? 


Oh,  if  the  hours  of  light  and  sun 
Be  too  the  hours  of  great  deeds  done, 
Who  would  not  dream  his  dreams  amiss 
Must  seek  them  under  moons  like  this. 
When  thoughts  and  half-forgotten  joys 
Sing  with  a  faint  and  fleeting  noise 
An  ancient  and  dehghtful  strain 
Within  the  chambers  of  the  brain. 


The  day  is  dead,  so  let  it  lie, 
Say  we  who  watched  it  live  and  die. 
And  all  its  human  hopes  and  fears 
Fare  forth  to  join  the  eternal  years. 

83 


Here  there  is  neither  time,  nor  strife, 
Nor  love,  nor  hate,  nor  death,  nor  life, 
Nor  waking  time,  nor  time  to  weep, 
But  a  blue  world  lost  in  a  blue  sleep. 

None  ever  knew  this  England  well 
Who  has  not  known  the  wood-smoke  smell, 
Or  seen  the  elm-trees'  sombre  height 
Grow  solemnly  against  the  night, 
With  one  star  tangled  in  their  leaves. 
Looming  above  the  cottage  eaves. 
These  he  has  known  who  England  knows 
And  men  have  died  for  these  and  those. 

MiDHURST,  April,  1916. 


84 


CUMBERLAND 

In  Cumberland,  in  Cumberland  the  hills  stand  up 
together, 
And  the  little  lonely  rivers  go  talking  to  the  sea, 
And  the  mists  creep  down  at  twilight  when  the 
hills  are  dark  and  solemn, 
And  the  stars  shine  out  above  them  as  quiet  as 
can  be  ; 
There  's  sheep  in  plenty  yonder,  you  can  hear  them 
on  the  moorland. 
With  the  whaup  and  plover  calling  where  the 
shadows  come  and  go  ; 
The  wind  that  blows  in  Cumberland  is  fresher  than 
all  others. 
And  the  dawns  across  the  dales  rise  up  most 
wonderful  and  slow. 

The  folk  that  live  in  Cumberland  are  decent  folk 
and  sober. 
You  may  meet  them  of  a  Sunday  in  their  broad- 
cloth two  and  two. 
The  ale  is  honest  drinking  and  the  bread  is  brown 
and  crusty. 
And  the  dogs  you  see  beside  the  road  know  near 
as  much  as  you. 

85 


Oh  !    the  soft  sweet  fall  of  morning  and  the  peat 
smoke  in  the  evening  ! 
Oh !     the    slanting   summer    sunshine    and    the 
sorrow  of  the  rain  ! 
And  the  low  grey  dykes  come  running,  and  the 
roads  wind  up  and  over, 
Where  the  mist  and  clouds  are  lying  and  the 
silences  remain. 

In  Cumberland,  in  England,  the  hills  are  great  and 
lonely. 
Lonelier  than  ever  since  her  lads  have  marched 
away; 
And  the  sheep  are  there  untended,  and  the  plover 
still  are  calling. 
Like  the  noise  of  waters  breaking  at  the  dawning 
of  the  day. 
Strike,  lad,  strike  !    for  the  mountains  that  have 
bred  you, 
Chmb,  lad,  climb  !    though  the  way  be  long  and 
steep, 
You  've  travelled  worse  in  Cumberland — and  if  the 
end  comes  sudden. 
Then    Cumberland 's    the    country    where    'tis 
easiest  to  sleep. 


86 


WINCHESTER  REVISITED 

Round  the  old  walls  the  ivy  still  is  clinging, 

Between  bare  trees  the  grey  tower  climbs  the  sky, 

And  in  the  west  some  lonely  bird  is  singing 
A  song  of  memories  and  days  gone  by. 

The  mists  rise,  and  the  meads  are  moon-enchanted, 

Even  as  I  have  seen  them  years  ago. 
Yet  different,  for  now  the  place  is  haunted, 

Splendidly  peopled  by  the  men  I  know. 

Raise  but  your  eyes,  and  see  their  forms  appearing, 
Sauntering  palely  o'er  the  moonht  green  ; 

Halt  but  a  pace  to  catch  their  phantom  cheering 
Carried  remotely  down  the  years  between. 

Strong  they  were  once,  and  lovable,"  and  cleanly, 
BattHng  to  win,  yet  gallant  in  defeat ; 

Not  unremembered  did  they  live,  nor  meanly ; 
Draining  the  cup  of  Youth,  they  found  it  sweet. 

They  loved  the  School  and  all  that  lay  around  them. 
Laughter,  and  friendships,  and  the  hght  of  day ; 

Greatly  they  lived,  and  greatly  Death  has  found 
them  ; 
Smiling,  they  fare  before  us  down  the  way. 

87 


They  sleep  not  in  the  field  of  France  or  Flanders, 
A  kindlier  earth  their  spirit  craves  instead, 

And  here,  even  here,  the  viewless  legion  wanders, 
And  Wykeham's  living  mingle  with  his  dead. 

So  ye,  whose  days  of  spring  are  yet  unended. 
Travel  the  paths  they  trod  for  you  before. 

That  you,  like  them,  may  catch  the  Vision  Splendid, 
And  pass  with  banners  to  the  farther  shore. 

And,  ere  you  go,  in  memory  of  the  perished. 
Here  by  their  walls,  their  old  familiar  trees, 

Strive  to  be  faithful  to  the  School  they  cherished. 
Thank  God  for  England,  Winchester,  and  these. 


Winchester, 

December,  19 17. 


DILETTANTE 

I  HAVE  loved  the  world,  the  light  and  air  of  it, 

The  creatures  over  it,  both  great  and  small, 
The  ups  and  downs,  the  work  and  wear  of  it. 

The  cark  and  care  of  it,  I  loved  them  all. 
What  things  were  good,  what  things  were  beautiful. 

What  things  were  strenuous,  beyond  my  skill, 
Though  darkly  seen,  I  sought  them  dutiful, 

Though  failing  often,  yet  I  follow  still. 


I  have  watched  spring-time  coming  tenderly. 

Have  seen  heroic  autumn  flare  and  die. 
Have  walked  the  twilight  lanes,  while,  slenderly, 

The  new  moon  blossomed  in  a  waning  sky. 
I  have  known  friendships  and  believed  in  them 

(God  send  me  many  ere  my  day  be  done  !) ; 
I  have  read  books — rejoiced  and  grieved  in  them, 

I  have  loved  music  and  the  setting  sun. 


But  most  of  all  is  England  dear  to  me, 

Her  hawthorn  hedges  and  her  meadows  wide. 

Her  shadowed  orchards — ah,  how  near  to  me, 
Each  detail  of  her  quiet  country-side  ; 

M  89 


Yes,  every  early  primrose,  each  anemone, 

Plucks  at  my  inmost  thoughts  as  ne'er  before, 

Therefore  in  this  her  trial,  her  Gethsemane, 
Fair  do  I  greet  her  as  I  ride  to  war. 


90 


EVENING  AND  THE  HILLS 

Lo  !   the  mountains. 
Grandly  they  glow  and  face  the  dying  sun, 
Immense  and  calm ;   and  little  shadows,  one  by 

one, 
Fill  all  their  hollows  with  mystery,  and  grow 
Imperceptibly  across  the  face  of  the  hills, 
As  the  shadows  creep  and  gather  slow 
Round  the  mouth  and  eyes  of  a  stricken  man 

Who  muses  on  his  ills 
And  mourns  the  stern  world's  melancholy  plan. 


These  are  for  ever. 
Yea,  though  in  labour  one  should  rise  and  rise 
And  front  the  day  with  unbeclouded  eyes, 
Then  in  a  season  pass  again  to  rest  ; 

Though  aeons  hence  our  children  should  beget 
Fresh  perishable   folk,   and   kingdoms   still    un- 

guessed 
Should  hve  and  fade  to  nothingness  again, 

Still  suns  would  set, 
And  hills,  the  everlasting  hills,  remain. 


91 


O  soulless  strength  ! 
Tremendous  void,  profundity  inane  ! 
Why  should  you  ape  eternity  in  vain  ! 
One  pulsing  moment  of  our  momentary  lives, 

One  instant  when  the  blood  runs  hot  and  swift, 
A  heart  that  sickens  and  a  mind  that  strives 
Are  mightier  far  than  all  your  mightiness. 

These  souls  that  drift 
Are  worth  the  sum  of  such  eternities. 


So  now,  my  friend. 
Let  us  go  down  together  from  the  height 
Soberly,  as  is  fit  for  those  whose  sight 
Rested  but  now  on  God's  immensities, 

But  yet  remembering  we  are  strangely  wrought 
With  something  of  the  mountain  silences 
And  something  of  the  labour  of  the  flat ; 

Our  lives  are  nought. 
Sudden  and  evanescent  as  a  gnat 

That  sings  across  a  beam  and  passes  on. 
Yet  does  our  little  period  comprise 

92 


Laughter,  and  love,  and   friendship,   that   shall 
last 
When  the  slow  sunsets  and  the  hills  are  gone, 

And  the  last  lonely  wind  that  roars  above  us  dies, 
And  all  eternities  are  overpast. 


Inverness-shire, 

September,  1916. 


Printed  in  Great  Britain  by  T.  and  A.  Constable,  Printers  to  His  Majesty 
at  the  Edinburgh  University  Press 


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